According to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, President Joe Biden urged railroad CEOs and union leaders to be innovative and adaptable in order to reach a compromise and avert a shutdown that may have impacted the movement of commodities across the U.S.
At a news conference on Thursday, Jean-Pierre told the assembled journalists, “The president’s message — it was very clear — we must get a deal done.” He encouraged them once more to acknowledge the damage that a shutdown would cause to families, farmers, companies, and entire towns. He urged them to think outside the box, to be adaptable, to meet others halfway, and he stressed the potential for enormous economic consequences.
The Biden administration worked for over 20 hours to come to an agreement before the deadline on Friday, involving the president, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.
You need to keep in mind what we were able to avoid here, Jean-Pierre stated. “This would have been terrible for our economy and our supply networks,” the author said.
Rail transports around 40% of the country’s long-distance goods. More than 7,000 trains would have been idled as a result of a strike, which could have cost up to $2 billion per day. The White House had been in discussions with the unions and employers of railroad workers for a number of months, but discussions centred on the subject of unpaid sick time.
A total of 60,000 workers were impacted by the tentative agreements that were reached early on Thursday morning. These workers are collectively covered by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.